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For many multi-location marketers, it has been tough to keep up with all of the latest platform updates and industry trends over the past six months. Most of the major search and social platforms made several significant changes to align with shifts towards digital marketing that occurred as a result of COVID-19. 


Now, most of the platforms have figured out how to effectively accommodate both businesses and consumers alike amid the current pandemic, and are back to their regularly scheduled updates. This week, we’ll take a look at new features and updates from both Facebook and Google My Business, and explain how your multi-location business can incorporate these new additions into your localized marketing efforts. 


Facebook Releases New Paid Online Events 


As mentioned above, COVID-19 has caused much of localized marketing to shift to be more digitally focused. As a result, Facebook has created a new feature, Paid Online Events. This new feature provides businesses the ability to earn money from online events on Facebook. The purpose of this feature is to help businesses make up for funds that were lost or missed out on during the early stages of the pandemic. 


With many states still having social distancing measures in place, this feature allows businesses to create online events, set a price, promote the event, and receive money from the event, all through Facebook. The event can be hosted through Facebook Live to reach your target audiences, and Facebook is also testing Messenger Rooms for more personal meetings or gatherings. If your multi-location business is wondering whether or not you’d be able to participate in these paid online events, Facebook has created a link where you can check whether or not your business qualifies.


If your business does qualify for these paid online events, it would be worth testing to see if your target audience would be interested. As a multi-location marketer, you should always be testing new strategies on social to see what resonates with your consumers. If your business needs more assistance in executing a comprehensive local social strategy, SOCi can help. SOCi’s social tool allows your multi-location business to deliver on-brand responses to social engagements, share top-performing content, and analyze performance across 1,000s of business locations.


Update Your GMB Profile Directly From Google Search or Maps


Another new change we saw over the past few weeks came from Google My Business (GMB). GMB released an update that allows businesses to update their GMB Business Profile directly from Google Search or Maps. Rather than having to log into your GMB Profile, Google now makes it easier for you to update your information. Through Maps and Search, businesses now can edit business information, add photos, reply to customer reviews, and create posts. 


Data from our Q3 2020 State of Multi-Location Marketing report found that even with the restriction on ratings and reviews earlier this year, GMB remained the powerhouse for ratings and reviews. GMB made up for 62 percent of the total share of ratings and reviews in Q2, with Facebook coming in second at 32 percent. If your multi-location business wasn’t already responding to reviews and working to collect more reviews on GMB, you’re missing out. This new feature through GMB makes it even easier for your multi-location business to maintain updated local listings and respond to reviews more efficiently. 


You may be thinking to yourself, while this feature can help your business become more efficient in some ways, it will still take a lot of time to go to each of your business location’s GMB profile and update the information and respond to reviews. This is where SOCi steps in. Through both our reviews and listings features, your multi-location business can streamline reputation management across 1,000s of business locations, all in one place. 


Sponsored Posts for Facebook Groups 


While Facebook’s first update was geared more towards businesses impacted financially by COVID-19, this next update is for any multi-location business that is using Facebook Groups. Facebook Groups are spaces on Facebook for friends, acquaintances, or people with similar interests to discuss and share information about specific topics. For instance, if your multi-location business is in the fitness industry, you could have a Facebook Group created for your business where consumers discuss different workout routines along with sharing nutritious recipes. 


Facebook Groups have been around for a while, but Facebook recently revealed that they are now allowing sponsored posts for Facebook Groups. While you can already run ads in your Facebook Groups, this new feature allows admins of a group to create sponsored posts in partnership with or on behalf of advertisers. This gives Facebook Group owners the ability to monetize their groups further while continuing to build loyalty and ultimately drive sales. If you’re using Facebook Groups and have some room in the budget, test sponsored posts to see their effectiveness among your target audiences. 


Now that you have the latest industry news, it’s time to get busy implementing the updates into your multi-location business’s localized marketing strategy. As previously mentioned, SOCi can help your multi-location business strengthen its localized marketing efforts in a variety of ways. SOCi is the all-in-one platform for your localized marketing needs. For more information on how SOCi can help you create a winning localized marketing strategy, request a demo today!


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